Holidays can seem like the perfect opportunity to work on a burning idea that I have, and occasionally I’ve taken an opportunity away from my day job to try and bring a new concept into reality. But this approach doesn't always result in the rest my mind and body really need.
When I’m enjoying a new project in this way it’s intoxicating. But I find that it’s really easy to just carry on without a break. This inevitably leads me to grow tired, which lets self doubt creep in. If I'm really exhausted, I begin to question my ability to finish or make something a success.
Doesn’t sound like much of a holiday does it?
Saving myself from burn-out
In order to maintain myself I’ve found that what I really need is to give my brain and my body a decent break every three months. This means breaking from both professional and personal projects.
As I’ve got to know myself better as an adult, I’ve realised that these breaks sustain me. They are my chance to hit the reset button, to talk for hours with friends and family with no agenda, to sleep for as long as I want to, to run for as long as I want to, to journal, to pick up a work of fiction instead of a business book, to get out of London and not face a tube ride. Essentially, freeing my mind and body from the schedules I have in my work life.
I know this sounds really basic, but I genuinely enjoy my work as a designer. But I know that if I don’t take opportunities to switch off, I’ll burn out – and I don’t want that.
Reseting my creativity
Breaks fill up my creative cup because they help me reconnect with people and ideas I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise. New destinations and different languages give me the sense of adventure I need in my life. Different food and approaches to life help me see things differently. Being around different cultures makes me wonder about where else in the world I’d like to live one day, and how I could make that a reality.
These are all feelings that leave me with a sense of excitement about the future, about the possibilities. If I had my head stuck in a new project the whole time I wouldn’t get that.
Where shall I rest next?
I’m not saying that taking time out to pursue personal projects is bad. Not at all. I have many projects and future ideas. What I’m saying is that to keep momentum, to keep feeling inspired, to maintain the high standards I expect from myself, I need to have a rest.
This year I’ve been lucky enough to visit Copenhagen, Rome, Israel, Scotland and Jersey. Where are you going to hit reset and recharge your creative batteries?